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Jessica Delfino - I Wanna Be Famous
Published on Saturday, 22 August 2009

Jessica Delfino makes a big play of a press release issued by the Catholic League of America denouncing her and her works - and, without making a judgment, it's not hard to see why such a group might object. Delfino is pretty filthy, but kookily awkward with it, and is one of the top acts to catch at the Free Fringe.

Her Fringe show, which she is about to take on tour round the States, is called I Wanna Be Famous, and it's an examination of her journey from growing up in Maine to living and working in New York City - via a stint at art college. This is all explored through song played on guitar and, hilariously, rape whistle, the latter in a warm exploration of the merits of a whistle against a weapon in the context of sexual assault.

The best song, and the one which has made her something of a YouTube hit, describes the means she settled on to achieve her goal of becoming famous. The refrain goes “if you want to be famous, kill someone”. It's one of several top taboo-busting ditties, getting a big laugh in particular when she explains who the song is about.

Delfino models herself after the current crop of assertive female comedians from the States - Sarah Silverman being the most obvious example. I think she shares with Silverman a weakness in scatological humour; there's nothing wrong with female comics being rude and offensive, but jokes about genitals are not in themselves funny. The piece that drew the Catholic League's ire, a Christmas ballad with the chorus “my pussy is magic”, was in my view probably the weakest of the tunes on display here.

Even still, Delfino is a very talented musician with excellent comic timing, and her filthy-mouthed ingenue routine is well-played. You've got to admire her chutzpah in her opening monologue, in which she drops a joke about miscarriage straight off the bat. Awkward? It might be, but you sense she's gonna get her wish to be famous granted.

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